Love composition enough to want to do it whether you get paid or not. Have friends or pupils who are happy to perform it. Value and reflect on your life experiences, whether happy or painful, because whether music appears to be programmatic or abstract, it is all the product of experiences that are deeply felt, as much as of individual gifts.
Do it for the right reasons, and be sure it’s what you really want to do because it isn’t easy. Then absolutely go for it. Despite many messages you’ll receive to the contrary, it is a worthwhile thing to be an artist, both personally and for society as a whole.
Theft from everyone – those I don’t admire just as much as those I do. High formal rigour, extreme interpretational looseness. Scafra, fractal structures, dot music, free serialism, modes, canon.
Probably playing at short notice for Frank Sinatra at the Albert Hall (someone in his team was indisposed). His drummer warned me off anything ‘flashy’ – “Mr Sinatra don’t like no concertos”. But the great man said, “Aw, let the kid play” (what a gent!).
Who or what inspired you to take up composing, and pursue a career in music? I wanted to make my own music from my earliest
Remember that art and life are an interweaving dance, and that one informs and inspires the other. Develop an instinct for which sacrifices are truly worth making and which risks are worth taking.